Congressman says 'lack of diversity' in Oscar nominees sends 'poor message'
California congressman Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) wrote an open letter to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boones Isaacs to express his “shock” at the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominees on Tuesday.
In the letter, Cárdenas wrote that the lack of diversity sends a “poor message” to the youth and the world and he believes “we must do better.” He also expressed interest in helping the process of promoting a more diverse entertainment industry along, saying he’d like to meet with Isaacs to begin a “dialogue” on the topic.
“I understand this endeavor will take time to achieve,” Cárdenas wrote, “but I am committed to working with you to make sure the industry is more reflective of the rich diversity of the city it calls home.”
This year, as EW‘s Nicole Sperling noted, could be a “white male Oscars,” as there are no minorities nominated in the four acting categories. Selma director Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo’s performance as Dr. Martin Luther King in the same film were both overlooked this year by the Academy, which also helped spark the hashtag #WhiteOscars to trend on Twitter following the nominations announcements early in January.
The timing of the letter comes just as Oscars voting prepares to close on Wednesday at 5 p.m. PT. It was also sent to the Academy’s board of governors and several major studio bosses, according to The Hollywood Reporter.